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Consumer rights expert calls out airlines 'blatant flouting' of duties to their customers

A UK consumer rights expert accused airlines of “blatant flouting” their responsibilities to their customers.

Sue Davies, the head of consumer rights at Which? accused the UK government and airlines - such as Tui, EasyJet and British Airways - of “encouraging” people to go on holiday after the COVID-19 without properly vetting their ability to transport that many people, leading to problems at airports last month and over the four-day Platinum Jubilee weekend while speaking in the House of Commons.

She told the business, energy, and industrial strategy select committee on Tuesday (14.06.22): "The airlines and the government were encouraging people to travel again, and we think they've just underestimated the capacity issues, and the shortages both within the airlines and the airport services, including baggage handlers.”

Richard Moriarty, the Civil Aviation Authority’s CEO, told the BEIS committee - chaired by Labour MP Darren Jones - that between two and four per cent of UK flights were cancelled between the half term and the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne. Typical cancellations for the period stand at one per cent.

Richard said that the higher than usual rate of cancellations was “clearly, distressing and clearly unacceptable.”

Tui’s chief executive officer of markets and airlines, David Burling outlined that a range of problems led to the chaos at the Britain’s airports, including London Gatwick, London Heathrow and Bristol.

The day before appearing at the select committee, Andrew Flintham emailed affected customers by the widespread delays and cancellations.

The managing director for their UK operations wrote: “I would like to assure you that we have learned from what happened, and we’re working closely with our partners to address the issues that caused the delays and cancellations.”

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